Taking care of lengthy haired guinea pigs – half 1


Article by Laura Humphreys, RHA, Assistant Editor & Professional, with the sort co-operation of Felicity!

For fairly some time now you have got been requesting an article on tips on how to take care of long-haired breeds of piggy. Most of you might be asking from a pet proprietor perspective. We do have one show-standard information developing in a later a part of this function, however on this challenge we’re fundamental grooming of a pet long-haired guinea pig. We hope it solutions some, if not all, of your questions. If not, contact us!

So for the primary a part of Grooming Lengthy-Hairs, meet my little princess Felicity Isabella. Little bit of background data, as it is necessary on this case: Fliss is regarded as round 3-4 years outdated and has been with me for two and a half years. She was born anophthalmic (with none eyes) and lives together with her mom Miranda, who I additionally adopted on the similar time. To the bare eye most individuals would do not know Felicity has no eyes: she strikes round every single day as assuredly as a sighted piggy. In conditions she’s uncertain of, she both freezes earlier than slowly sensing her environment, or she flies. The latter may be very uncommon nowadays, however we couldn’t deal with her very simply at first as she wasn’t used to us. Now she is, she’ll allow us to do something to her – which is why she was chosen to display the scissor-technique of hair trimming.

In my years of protecting guinea pigs I’ll firstly say that, because of protecting the hair quick on a routine foundation, I’ve by no means wanted to groom any of my long-hairs every day. I very not often comb or brush them. I’ve had Coronets, Shelties, Swiss and Peruvians, and the one instances they’ve ever developed matted hair is that if they’ve not had their typical month-to-month trim round their rear finish. That is the place the matts will develop, as that is the place the hair is the thickest, and likewise the place the hair is probably to develop into dirty or infested with parasites or fungal an infection (each of which which might trigger hair breakage, pores and skin flakiness, and result in particles coating the hair shafts). 

Nevertheless for the sake of this text, I did give Felicity an intensive comb-through previous to trimming her hair. She wasn’t eager, however it definitely makes you see how straightforward it might be to let the hair get uncontrolled; it had solely been two months since her earlier all-over haircut! 

IMPORTANT I labored alone, with my associate taking the pictures as I requested, however the very very first thing to notice earlier than I begin is that: 

• in case you are new to trimming piggies, 

• in case your piggies are pretty new to you, 

• in case your piggies aren’t used to being groomed, or 

• in case you are in any respect uncertain about managing by yourself… 

…then use your associate to assist or get another person to carry the piggy for you when you do the trimming. I realized to handle by myself by necessity, and it may be completed safely, however bear in mind in these pictures I’m working with a really placid and trusting guinea pig, I’ve years of expertise of managing long-haired pigs of varied ranges of “spiritedness”, and I’d not put my guinea pigs in danger. I additionally ask you to not put your guinea pigs at pointless danger, so please do learn all of the notes fastidiously and be aware of the factors in purple. Beginning with: use a associate to assist for the primary few trims!

Appraise what precisely it’s you have got in entrance of you, and what you need to obtain with the haircut. Are you giving an throughout trim to shorten the entire pigs hair from shoulder to bum, or do you need to maintain the hair reasonably lengthy and simply trim it so it’s not dragging on the ground, and in order that the rear finish is clear and quick? Take a look at what you’ve set to work with and what you need to obtain. Absolutely the minimal you have to to do as a pet proprietor is to trim the hair across the rear finish to maintain the pig’s genitals hygienically clear and the hair round it free from matts. Dirty/moist hair across the genitals attracts parasites and flystrike.

If wanted, brush out the coat earlier than you trim the pig. This manner any matts or knots will develop into obvious to you, and also you additionally get a greater concept of the particular size of the pig’s coat. With rexoid breeds (Swiss, Texel, Merino to call a number of) their hair is definitely longer than it seems, because the rexoid gene causes it to face erect from the physique. Brushing the coat out lengthens the crimps within the hair strands so you possibly can see simply how lengthy the hair actually is! This step is particularly vital for those who’re utilizing clippers (see the following challenge, #31) because of the danger of snagging, but additionally helpful when trimming with scissors.

In Felicity’s case, you possibly can see her hair was so lengthy she wanted an throughout trim. I all the time begin on the sides relatively than going straight to the rear finish, however it is a matter of private alternative. Three key factors right here: 

Sit on the ground. Irrespective of how skilled you might be, irrespective of how laidback the pig you might be working with, do your grooming on the ground or a really low floor “simply in case” the piggy ought to get spooked by something. Pigs are likely to dart and leap about after they really feel one thing they don’t like so for those who can sit on the ground with them in your lap, this can forestall any falling accidents. 

Face the guinea pig in in the direction of you, maintain them shut and preserve as a lot bodily contact as you possibly can. The extra contact and the extra constant the contact, the safer they really feel. I usually tuck the guinea pig between my arm and aspect of my physique at any time when doable, as they like this to being ‘uncovered’. 

When trimming with scissors, all the time maintain your hand between the scissors and the guinea pig. Use round-ended scissors to forestall poke accidents.

When trimming the hair on the rear finish, begin by levelling the hair out above ground-level, (or simply above the extent of the pigs legs as they’re sitting on you). That is simply high layer trimming although – it’s simply the beginning of trimming the hair across the again finish to a wholesome size. This alone isn’t sufficient. Offered you have got combed by then there’ll be no knots or matts within the thick layers beneath…if there are knots, you have to to fastidiously search and trim these out after which tub the guinea pig to shampoo and situation out the matts which might be too near the pores and skin to trim off. As soon as you can begin to see the pigs underside or precise “butt” or genitals to some extent, and you understand there aren’t any matts on the rump, then it’s time to maneuver onto the true work…

Sit the piggy upright, dealing with away from you, leaning their again firmly in opposition to your tummy in order that their genital space is uncovered, along with your hand and higher arm firmly supporting them and stopping them slipping down – within the place Felicity is in right here. Utilizing a pair of miniature round-ended scissors, trim the trickiest hairs between the legs. I discover it best to interrupt the world down into three sections in my thoughts: across the precise genitals, then the 2 areas both aspect of the genitals as much as the legs. . It is a very tough half to trim quick, notably if the guinea pig kicks the again legs round, however with apply you’ll discover ways to maintain the leg nonetheless with the identical hand you’re holding the pig with and to get a more in-depth trim – however so long as you (safely) handle to get some size off the hair right here, primarily across the genitals themselves, it’ll assist.

When you’ve completed all that, you need to kind of have a a lot tidier model of the long-haired guinea pig you began with. I gave Felicity an all-over trim so as soon as I’d trimmed her sides and rear-end, I trimmed the layers all around the remainder of her physique. The one space to keep away from trimming is on the pinnacle and face. I’ve but to come back throughout a case the place trimming across the face is critical. The hair is of course shorter on the face it doesn’t matter what the breed. The one exception is the Peruvian, nonetheless the perimeter that droops down over the face originates from the again of the pinnacle. To trim the perimeter, raise the hair away from the face and reduce.

Oh sure, and maybe I ought to have talked about this primary, however hopefully you might be studying this earlier than trimming…you need to be sporting outdated garments whereas doing this as you WILL find yourself coated head to toe in guinea pig hair!

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